Bernard Arnault, the French billionaire and head of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, is closing in on the title of world’s richest person after his company agreed to purchase Tiffany & Company in a $16 billion deal on Monday.
The 70-year-old businessman — who serves as chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, indisputably the world’s largest luxury company — is now worth $106.8 billion, according to Forbes.
Arnault’s net worth rose by 1 percent after the takeover of the iconic American company was announced. Tiffany was made a household name by the 1961 Audrey Hepburn film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, based on the novel by Truman Capote.
LVMH — of which Arnault and his family own more than 47%, per CNN — now claims more than 70 luxury brands under its umbrella, including Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Celine, Bulgari, Hublot, TAG Heuer, and Dom Perignon champagne, according to Fortune.
Forbe’s “Real-Time Billionaires List,” which tracks the net worth of the richest people in the world, placed Gates at $107 billion and Bezos at $110.2 billion on Monday. Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Ellison round out the top six wealthiest people.
According to the New York Times, Arnault first began his accumulation of companies in the 1980s, when he purchased a bankrupt French textile company called Boussac. He sold most of the company but kept one piece, Dior, and expanded it.
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The newspaper says Arnault has a reputation for being extremely competitive and wanted to own the top luxury company when he realized he couldn’t be No. 1 in his two other passions, piano and tennis.
He has two children from his first marriage, and three from his second. Four of them work for various brands owned by LVMH.